John Carnac was one of the two main promoters, the other being Isaac Mallortie, of the Polygon development project in the late 18th century. Previously, Carnac had followed a military career which had taken him to India in 1754. Preferring to stay in India, he transferred to the East India Company when his regiment was posted home in 1758. While in India he became closely associated with Major-General Robert Clive, then Governor of Bengal.
Carnac made his fortune in India and returning to England in 1867 he bought the Cams Hall estate near Fareham. He later entered politics, becoming MP for Leominster. Turning his attention to the Polygon development in c.1768, he and Mallortie enlisted the services of London architect Jacob Leroux to design the layout for the site. It was an ambitious plan designed to match the new, genteel buildings of other spa or resort towns like Bath and Tunbridge Wells. The original plan by Leroux was for a polygonal ensemble covering about 22 acres and consisting, within an encircling carriage road, of 12 large houses with long gardens. Lack of money caused the scheme to be aborted in 1773, by which time only three of the central houses had been completed. One of these was a hotel, part of which still survives.
Leroux also remodeled Cams Hall for Carnac in the 1770s.

see also

Further reading:
More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p10. (HS/h)


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